DragonForce’s Herman Li Says Rock Isn’t Dead, It’s ‘Too Serious’ + ‘Afraid to Have Fun’
DragonForce guitarist Herman Li has addressed the controversial notion (largely driven by Gene Simmons of KISS) that rock is dead. He refuted the notion but did acknowledge that rock and metal is "too serious" and that musicians are "afraid to have fun."
In a nearly hour-long interview with The Needle Drop music reviewer Anthony Fantano, Li talked quite a lot about the state of the rock and metal scene as well as how his own band has adapted to changes in technology, digital trends and savvy new business practices that heavy music has fallen quite behind on as the genre remains slow to adapt to change.
It's his comments on the narrative that rock is dead that were among the most intriguing aspects of the interview, where he also worked in how other genres are having success amid the ever-changing music industry climate.
“People always say rock music is dead and all these things. And to be honest, there’s a reason why rock music or metal — guitar, bass music — isn't in the forefront of the music scene. I think we lost some of that... I think there's that little fear of creating that over-the-top [dynamic], and being not too serious. I think a lot of them are a bit too serious, a lot of rock musicians. They're afraid to have fun," Li confessed.
He continued, "You look at rap, hip-hop, they have that thing — the seriousness. But they are able to inject some fun [and] laugh. You can listen to lyrics and be like, ‘Okay, okay, I get it. He's having a laugh here.'"
Adding more about how influential mainstream artists in rap and hip-hop can open up new avenues of thinking for rock and metal bands, Li said, “I look outside the box for different ideas to make myself more creative at the same time. I'm talking about not just music, but business. I think the rappers out there are so smart. How they release music, how they manipulate the scene, the digital assets, algorithm or Spotify — all this stuff. Rock music just isn't there, or heavy metal music, in terms of creativity and being in the forefront of the technology that's happening.”
Watch the full interview at the bottom of the page.